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Backpacking 101


Backpacking 101 is designed for people with no backpacking experience and those seeking to update rusty skills after several years away from the sport. Instruction covers equipment selection and use, information and techniques to enhance safety and comfort, and Leave No Trace methods to protect our fragile backcountry environment.

Participants must be at least18 years old.

Fee: $100 for PATC members; $125 for non-members. Pre-registration is required. Classes are limited to 20 students.

The class is run in three sections:
 - An introduction at PATC Headquarters
 - A two-day training weekend
 - A two-day backpacking overnight

2020 Class Dates:
April 27 an introduction at PATC HQ
May 2-3 Training weekend at Bears Den Hostl
May 16-17 Backpacking overnight

Note: Online registrants will be asked to verify that they have read and understood the following Waiver:
My participation in this class amounts to my agreement to assume all risks and liabilities related to or resulting from this class. By participating in this class, I am agreeing not to hold the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, or any of its leaders, officers, employees or representatives, liable for any injury, loss or damage to myself, to members of my family or to my property arising from the class.

Click here to continue to registration

Backpacking 101 Topics Covered

  • Wilderness ethics & Leave No Trace (LNT) principles
  • Boots & footwear
  • Clothing & layering
  • Packs & how to pack them
  • Sleeping bags & pads
  • Tents & shelters
  • Stoves & how to use them
  • Food preparation & meal clean-up
  • Campsite selection
  • Sanitation & personal hygiene
  • Staying hydrated & treating water
  • Trip planning
  • Basic land navigation with map & compass (intro)
  • Flora & fauna

Check out our Backpacking class Photo Gallery.

For more information on Backpacking classes, please contact the Backpacking Committee Chair.